Nutritional supplement scams: how do you avoid them?
How do you resist the many sophisticated strategies to persuade you to part with your money. How can you tell the truly great natural health products from worthless ones?
In over 30 years of experience with the industry I learned ways to spot nutritional supplement scams.
For a couple of years, I was even a sales rep for a small company that sold food-based products. I saw from the inside some of the tactics used to corner the market. For example, did you know that some companies will actually buy all the shelf stock of a competing company, say in a Whole Foods store - in order to place their own product on the shelf? Just because a product is prominently displayed in a health store doesn't even mean it is popular with the customers!
From my personal experience using thousands of products over the years, I can say with much assurance that - being generous - less than 1% of them proved to be great.
Nutritional Supplement Scams: My Own Learning Curve
For many years, I took supplements on faith. I did not discern any clearly felt effects. I took them because I thought it was a good idea.
All that changed when I was dealing with mercury poisoning. Now, a supplement HAD to work - I had to FEEL its benefits. If it didn't make a memorable impression, it was soon forgotten. Over a period of ten years of healing from mercury toxicity, I got a hands-on education about hundreds of products from diverse sources.
The products that 'knocked my socks off' are the ones that made it onto this site.
Nutritional Supplement Scams: Company Ownership Changes
While not a deliberate scam, company ownership changes are commonly not publicized. Customers buy the product expecting it to be the same. All too frequently the quality is poorer.
Back in the late 1970's - early 80's, companies like Solgar and Schiff were pillars of the industry producing reliable, good quality (notice I didn't say 'great') formulas of the day. Once they sold out to other companies who retained the label and brand, quality fell sharply; no self-respecting professional would be caught selling them today.
My first experience of what can happen when a small, high-end company changes hands, was with a formulator of skin care products. Weleda, a company renowned for high-end skin care products, provided an Iris Skin Cream that was gloriously healing both in its aromatic qualities and when applied to the skin. Once Weleda changed hands, I found the ingredients and quality of the Iris Cream to be so poor, I immediately stopped buying it.
It is common knowledge that many food companies famed for their pure products are now owned by huge conglomerates; for example Hain is now largely owned by Heinz.
Product Quality Starts With the Company Owner
I personally know the owners/managers of most of the companies whose products I carry; for example, Don Tyson - owner of Montiff and formulator of all its products. Montiff has at least 10 of its products listed in the Physician's Desk Reference!
Another company owner who has impressed me with unfailing integrity over several years of knowing him is Spencer Feldman - scientist who developed the Medicardium, Glytamins, Xeneplex and Endosterol detox suppositories as well as several capsule products.
These men are rarities in the supplement industry. The standards they hold to are demonstrated to me time and again - showing an uncompromising passion for excellence...
An example of the rare kind of quality control that stands behind EXCELLENT natural health products...
...I was surprised one day to receive a note from Spencer Feldman. He said that he was not happy with the quality of one ingredient in his Endosterol product - not because it was poor - just because it didn't perfectly match HIS standard of excellence.
Spencer asked me for the names of all my customers who had received orders of Endosterol during the last couple months and AT HIS OWN EXPENSE replaced every box. In addition, he told the customers to keep and use the 'almost perfect' Endosterol they already had received!
Nutritional Supplement Scams on the Internet: One Warning Sign
You can't seem to find identity and contact information for company owner. Who is responsible for the quality of this product?
On the internet, run, don't walk, away from any company cloaks its identity with no clue to who owns and manages it. You may see 'doctors' in white coats claiming to be the developers of the product, but when you do a search on their names, the only site that comes up is the e-commerce site selling the products.
This being said, there are many self-styled experts who do reveal their identity, selling virtually worthless products for exorbitant prices. The aura around these 'experts' is one of abject adulation - they depict themselves as gurus.
Nutritional Supplement Scams: Stay Away From MLM's!
One giveaway is MLM products of ANY kind. A few people at the top are making big money from people like you and me who believe, and sell to all our friends and acquaintances. In my experience with a number of MLM companies, and my observation of many others - you will do well to avoid them.
Typically, the products are mediocre or low quality and very over-priced. Very few knowledgeable professionals carry such products.
Nutritional Supplement Scams: An Offer You Can't Refuse
Free Trial Offer: You find you are charged an exorbitant $10.00+ shipping fee for that little 'free' trial bottle of pills.
MANY people who have taken advantage of Free Trial Offers find themselves taken advantage of by repeated unauthorized charges on their credit card. If the company is REALLY crooked, it folds up and disappears, then reopens as a completely different company.
Nutritional Supplement Scams Need LOTS of Testimonials!
A nutritional supplement scam giveaway is LOTS of real-name testimonials with photographs of satisfied customers. Dozens, maybe more… Usually fake. Most individuals, particularly if they suffer from some intimate health problem, are not going to openly testify. They are not going to publicly - complete with photos, tell in living detail the story of how their (for example, erectile potency problems or vaginal yeast infection) were 'cured.'
This is VERY common! With the vast majority of brands, what the label says and what's in the bottle are so far apart they are not even 'in the same ballpark.' It is like going to a restaurant and eating the menu! Yes, the label says a lot of nice things and the main benefit you get is that placebo effect from thinking you are doing something good for your health by using the product.
Glutathione, for example, is one of the most common products to contain only a fraction of the potency stated on the label.
My first experience of this kind of label and product discrepancy was buying a bottle of Whole Foods niacin years ago. You can't hide potency problems with a supplement like niacin because any appreciable amount typically releases enough histamine to result in flushing and itching of the skin. This did not happen with the Whole Foods brand.
I was perplexed. I increased the dose until I was taking around 1000 mg of niacin - not something I would recommend except under supervision. With no response whatsoever, no matter how many capsules I took, I finally had to come to the conclusion that this product was IMPOTENT!
Nutritional Supplement Scams: What is NOT Stated on the Label
The best company owners I know constantly monitor incoming raw materials for contaminants, and keep tabs on the practices of their suppliers. For example, immediately following the nuclear disaster in Japan, the company from which I get Chlorella started a search for a new supplier.
Yet I see other established Chlorella companies still sourcing their raw materials from Japan.
There are more ways to spot nutritional supplement scams. It gets trickier by the day, because companies know how to create an image of wholesomeness and integrity that can fool the best of us.
Be assured that there ARE truly great products that have stood the test of time and really provide benefits.